Piolets d'Or - MOUNT ROBSON (3,954M)

MOUNT ROBSON (3,954M)

©Ethan Berman

Emperor (northwest) Face - Running in the Shadows (2,300m, US VI, M6 AI5 A0),
Ethan Berman (USA) and Uisdean Hawthorn (UK).
September 30 to October 1 for the ascent.

Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies and the Emperor Face the Rockies' biggest mixed wall. There were already five routes or variations on this face, the first, in 1978, by Jamie Logan and Mugs Stump. However, this new route follows a conspicuous gully system right of the 2010 Kruk-Walsh route and was climbed in excellent style: Berman and Hawthorn were only the second team (and the first for almost 40 years) to climb a new line on the face, and reach the summit, without using a helicopter for the approach or descent.

The pair walked 20km from the roadhead to the mountain (and later back again), bivouacked below the face, then climbed 1,800m to the Emperor Ridge, where they stopped for a second bivouac after 19 hours of movement. All technical climbing was on new terrain, with the hard pitches through thinly iced, steep rock barriers that often had a very Scottish feel. Next day, in poor weather with bad visibility, they made a complex one-kilometre traverse along the west flank of the Emperor Ridge to gain the summit, where they bivouacked once more before embarking on a 3,000m descent of the Kain Route.

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